SBrick's Kickstarter project was a success, now the SBrick (~Smart Brick) is available for everyone.
The SBrick is used instead of the LEGO Power Functions receiver #8884 in a LEGO model.
The remote control is an app in your Apple iPhone or Android phone which controls the SBrick via Bluetooth.
Further information about SBrick is offered on the manufacutures website https://sbrick.com/. Currently only the newer programmable SBrick Plus seems to be available.
The SBrick arrived
The Hardware is packed in a little box, besides the SBrick you will find a folded short instruction to get started.
The SBrick can be purchuase on the vendor's website SBrick, but with £40 plus tax it is not really cheap.
The instruction leaflet
The assembly of the SBrick with the other Power Functions components is nothing special. The dimensions of the SBrick are moreless the same as the LEGO Powre Functions receiver #8884. The SBrick offers 4 separate outputs where motors or lights could be connected. I have to mention that you need a standard LEGO Power Function cable #8886 to attach the SBrick to a power supply. This cable is attached at the bottom of the SBrick.
To set-up the app in you phone it takes some more time …
The SBrick app
The SBrick app is offered for free an can be installed on your smartphone. Currently the operation systems iOS from Apple, Android from Google and Windows Phone from Microsoft are supported.
The „Horizon Express“ profile
Within the app you need to do the following:
- Connect your phone with the SBrick (they communicate via Bluetooth)
- Select a remote control either for an official LEGO set or a MOC
- Select a so-called profile
- Configure, which output on the SBrick will control which function
In the section "Bricks" your phone can learn which SBrick is yours. If you add a new SBrick to your phone make sure the SBrick is connected to a power supply and the power is turned on.
Before you start putting all your Power Functions components in your model, make a test run to check if the phone and the SBrick really talk to each other. In the "Brick" section you will find a "Port Tester" which has forward/backward sliders for all 4 outputs.
In the section "My Sets" you can add your remote controls. Either you select an official LEGO model or you add your MOC. First you have to select the "Profile" as set-up for your controls on your screen. Especially for LEGO Technic sets various profiles are available. But you will also find a "Horizon Express" profile to control a LEGO Power Functions train.
Using the Profile Designer you can design you own profiles … which I haven't done yet.
SBrick in action
The "Horizon Express" profile offers the following controls:
- Slider for various speeds (forward and backward)
- Two switches for lights (front and rear)
- The "Coast" button to slow down your train
- The "Stop" button as emergency stop for all connected motors
Controll your train with SBrick – YouTube video „SBrick controls LEGO Power Functions train (Horizon Express profile)“
SBrick in a Power Functions train
Power Functions train with SBrick
Whereever a standard Power Function receiver fits in, the SBrick also fits in. It's 4 outputs and the various controls in the selected profile on your smartphone offer much more possibilties then the standard Power Functions system.
Thanks to Bluetooth now a remote control is available which can be used over longer distances and in direct sun light.
Hopefully bug-fixing is successful in the near future. If so, the SBrick becomes a great addition to the world of remote controlled LEGO bricks.